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Thursday, February 9, 2012

I’ll Need You to Rebel in an Orderly and Dignified Fashion

I’ve written of my son before: the way he paid the electric bill at the tender and mature age of four, how I saved him from a life of droopy-drawered ridiculosity.

The time I listened in on him and his cousin’s late-night cabin whisperings.

But did I tell you about the time he rebelled?

Honestly, there’s not a lot to rebel against with me. I’m a listener. There weren’t rules so much as there were firmly held suggestions (the toilet seat remains in the “down” position when not in use, Cool Whip is not a condiment, young ladies who treat your mother with disdain are not really dating material).

The Boy bandied the words “liberal” and “hippie” about as if they were bad things. Meanwhile, aside from the aforementioned electric-bill debacle, I cooked from scratch (most of the time), cleaned (quite often) and was open to anything he wanted to talk about (always).

Eventually, of course, he began to get hormonal on me.

In subtle ways, he changed. But it wasn’t until I got into his truck that I realized how much.

A truck! Let us look at this first. A truck. In a first-tier suburb of Minneapolis, a lovely area with mature trees and sidewalks. While the need for a pick-up truck was not clear to me, I played along.

You want a truck? Knock yourself out.

Where were we going the first time I got into it? I tossed my purse in first, climbed up into the cab of the truck, made a remark about the height of the vehicle. He smiles proudly and we tear off down the street as I am buckling up.

“Hey there, Mario Amphetamine! We’re law-abiding people!”

He takes his foot off the gas momentarily.

“That’s more like it!” I enthuse. With the departure of the G-forces, I peel my spine off the back of the seat. Secretly fearful I will find discarded condoms or evidence of Communism, I am careful about where I look.

One doesn’t want to learn too much too soon.

Dylan clicks around on his stereo, a piece of electronics that outclasses my first three sound systems in the same way that a house is an improvement over seeking shelter in a bush.

“You’ll like this,” he says, smiling. He turns it up to levels The Who would approve of.

But I don’t. It’s a twangy, predictable slice of Country Western music that I have a particular dislike for. Raised on swing and big band, my father was also partial to Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and, so help me, Conway Twitty.

I know what Country Western music is, and this ain’t it.

I grimace and say nothing.

“Did you see my gun rack?”

I turn around. Sure enough, there it is. This is where the rifles go.

“You got a lot of use for that?” I say.

He shrugs, smiling. “Deer hunting.”

I nod. We’re very much alike, but we’re also quite different. That’s what you get for procreating.

“I’m thinking of getting a cowboy hat,” he says.


The scales, as they say, fall from my eyes. I smile at him. “I know what you’re doing,” I say.

He turns, briefly, squints at me: oh, yeah?

“You’re rebelling!”


“You’re rebelling! With your two kinds of music – that’s right! Country AND Western! – and the hunting and the gun rack! You’re rebelling against your liberal mother!” I smile at him, secure in my interpretation.

He looks horrified.

I lean over, pinch the available cheek. “Oh, you are just so adorable! Yes, you are! Yes, you are just so adorable!”

He pulls away, shakes me off him, laughingly tells me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

But we both know that I do.

You know? He never did get that hat.

But he never misses deer season.


mybabyjohn/Delores said...

We all rebell sooner or later...sadly my folks were deceased and missed my rebellious stage yesterday.

Shelly said...

A rebellion into redneck! I, too, rebelled against my country farm life upbringing, was into all the best that punk had to offer as a teen, and now my own 15 year just said to me yesterday, "Mom, I really really like Shania Twain and Miranda Lambert!". These are two singers my mom also loves.

That swinging pendulum of generational rebellion. If my future grandchildren ever discover a liking to Johnny Rotten, the Ramones, or any of the others, I will probably sport a purple mohawk with them.

Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

My older daughter has already begun rebelling.. All the time with the Top 40 pop stations. Beiber, Rhianna, Ke$ha.. all this from the sweet child who used to sing along to Kimya Dawson in the car with me.

vanilla said...

What a wise mother. Roll with the rock, or not, so to speak. Every generation goes through it. Funny, as teens we distance ourselves from the parents, in our forties we become them.

bill lisleman said...

Rebellion can go left or right. Trucks and gun racks go together like bread and butter. Once again I enjoyed your great story telling.

Pearl said...

Delores, :-) I love that. You were rebelling yesterday. :-)

Shelly, I suspected as much! And I agree with you: we all need to rebel against something, if only to assert a personality distinct from our parents.

Yandie, pop music! Ack. So sorry. :-)

vanilla, I'm coming to find that out... Luckily, my parents (and grandparents) were all lovely, law-abiding types. I could've done much worse...

bill, it's true. I have friends who lean much further right than I do, and their children are definitely left-leaning. Makes for interesting conversation!

esbboston said...

I have a semi-monster truck, an F-350 with slightly larger than normal tires, four wheel drive, diesel. No gun rack though. I told my wife about how mean you were to me yesterday ('rogue') and now she is going to come beat you up.
(((Not reaLLy!!!))) Hahahahaha.
When I told her I had a new friend in Minnesota she said your name 'Pearl' with a Mississippian accent, which is strange cause she is a Texas girl completely by vocal training. THEN I remembered that she has an aunt from Mississippi that I met one time a loooong time ago. Don't worry, you are nothing like the other Pearl, perhaps the eXact opposite.

esbboston said...

I just noticed that your comments have a timestamp that appears to be Pacific Coast time, odd.

Pat said...

Aren't sons great?
Even now both my sons love to get me in their car, turn up the volume and say:
'Just listen to this Mum.'

Pearl said...

esb, hey, I know a rogue when I see one. :-) And actually, it does have a West Coast time stamp! The computer came like that and I just never fixed it. I've not changed the look of my blog one bit since I started it almost four years ago, as well. To me, it's all about the story-telling/writing, the rest is somehow a chore. :-)

Pat, absolutely! He's always introducing me to new things, making listen to specific spots, telling me who plays what with whom. It's his way of loving me, and it makes me smile like a goof just thinking about it. :-)

CarrieBoo said...

That's very interesting, a liberal mother rearing a red-neck son. Minus the hat, of course.

When Roz wants to get me, she says, "I love Barbie, Mom". She's quite evil. I am scared for the teen years...

My parents are so toxic, that my sisters form of rebellion as a teen (no lie) was to join a church group and bring home a bible!

Robbie Grey said...

My daughter has a bit of a hard time with rebellion; her mother has turned into hockey-mom good Catholic, and then there's me...

Want to join a convent? Talk to your mother. Want a tattoo? Hey, I know a guy.

Symdaddy said...

I rebelled when I was five.

Why the hell shouldn't I be allowed to go out in my pyjamas, Stetson (plastic) and six-guns (tin) and hold up the milkman?

What's wrong with asking the policeman if his head is really the same shape as his helmet?

Yep, I had my mother tagged as one of those ultra-conservative types that always, I mean ALWAYS, consulted the conformists handbook before any undertaking that might be considered 'different'.

jabblog said...

We all have to kick over the traces and it usually does no harm. It was hard to rebel against my parents - they were so reasonable! - so, to my shame, I resorted to sullenness.
My own children had more to kick against - I wasn't so reasonable;-)

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

As you may know, Pearl, my first car was a truck. So I very much enjoy the story of your boy in his pickup.
And the story of when he paid the electric bill...priceless.

esbboston said...

I checked for you. I think the timestamp on your blog comments is determined by a setting in your blogger settings, not your computer itself. While logged onto your blogger account, from the dashboard just go to the Settings, then Formatting, then on that page there is a drop down box for Time Zone.

Scarlet Blue said...

I am careful about where I look.

One doesn’t want to learn too much too soon.

I used to be so, so nosey when I was young... but age and experience has taught me that sometimes it really is better not to know.
I caught myself being careful where I looked just the other week.


Douglas said...

I am glad you weren't my Mom... though she employed many of the same tricks you have.

I had my eye on a `48 Ford pickup back when I was 16. My mother would have gone along but my father, ever the wet blanket of my life, vetoed it. I still want the old Ford...

fishducky said...

Socrates, or someone of his time, wrote of the younger generation rebelling. I guess it's just part of the human makeup.

jenny_o said...

"We’re very much alike, but we’re also quite different. That’s what you get for procreating."

To date - and I've read daily for quite awhile now as well as plumbed the depths of your archives - this has to be my most favouritest line of yours EVER.

So true. So true. So true.

And, your son is lucky to have you for a mom.

Rita said...

When you have a mother who was volunteering to spray paint your hair orange in the 80s and encouraged you to get piercings if you wanted...well, the way you rebel is to be conservative, I guess. LOL! Not much rebelling went on between my son and I. We're still good friends.

Joanne said...

I went through two daughters' rebellions. Holding my tongue and only saying wise things was really tough. One daughter became a citizen in due time; the other not so much. They grew up to be their own interesting people.

bj said...

hahhhaaa....I didn't have trouble with our two kids rebelling. But, now, grandkids are another story...:)))

Lisa Golden said...

I love the stories about your son. I rebelled when I went away to school. The photos are slightly embarrassing. It looks like my oldest daughter is rebelling by joining a sorority and being an overachiever. The horror!

laughingmom said...

Love the thought of peeling your spine off of the seat in the truck. I feel that way whenever I get out of the car with my kids. That and I have to pry my fingers off of the door handle!

Geo. said...

Hello, 1st-time commenter on your excellent site. I'm 62 and need to know when I can stop rebelling. It wears me out. Should I ask my doctor?

BamaTrav said...

Well, I drive a Z71 offroad 4X4 extended cab, no gun rack, and deer hunt but....I listen to metal. I hate country. Also I live in the city but the truck is great for driving around in the woods.

Amber Star said...

I rebelled in my teen years by becoming Catholic. Then marrying young followed by a divorce in 3 years and two children. End of being Catholic...before Vatican II. Remarried and had another child
and discovered The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, etc. My kids are all Republicans and have not had children, except for my wonderful son who with the help o his wife gave birth to my grandson.

I wonder what he will be like in his rebellious years. Hmmm.

I think the time stamp thing is because Blogger is hosted in California maybe?

The Elephant's Child said...

Aaaah. Now I understand. I have no children so I needed to do their rebelling as well as my own. When I get the energy I will rebel on my grandchildren's behalf. And so on.

Jocelyn said...

I'm gonna need his email address so I can send him an iTunes gift card for the new Kelly Pickler album.

(If it results in posts like this, I'm glad to, er, "inspire" you any time. Got any fondue stories for me?)

Linda O'Connell said...

You handled the boy well. You are right, country and western is not country music. I grew up with those hillbillies too. My dad played guitar. My rebellion: married aguy who looked like Buddy Holly and thought he was Elvis.

Roshni said...

so, this is what I should be prepared for?!

Gigi said...

I LOVE stories of your boy! Maybe cuz I've got one too?

Mine hasn't really rebelled (yet, knock wood) in a serious way. Most of what he's done so far - pffftt! That I can deal with.

Jeanie said...

I was a sort of head-in-the-sand mom....I didn't feel the need to know too much and even now that they are way grown up I don't like to hear their confessions of past sins.
I like the red-neck direction your boy has gone, but then Conway Twitty was my neighbor once until his house burned down.

Bodacious Boomer said...

Years ago Brett took one of my long nighties, donned a wig, took photos and called himself and called him Rosalita. He had cards printed up that way and gave his Gma one at Thanksgiving. I was so proud.

Michelle said...

You know MP.....she sent me an email....she is very worried about MARGARET THATCHER?
And not only that she giving it about GAMMU MPR.
And that means HOTHIL- LACHILL- BOWHILL- PATBIL- they're all giving it too.
BOYENG no longer in GESSIS.
Everyone is OUTTE with BOAKER the PHOKER-
PHOCKST...for the head of your QUEEN.

Cloudia said...

love the purple mohawk, Gran!

Warm Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

River said...

Country AND western!! That's adventurous.

Michelle said...

Well it's all about HETU , unfortunately and it's about POPHEDO...and what is being said is that DASSAULT- SCHAR- RICE are the PEARS and that's from the PR - RICK the PRICK so he ought to know.
I think you are all on DEDST - LOUISIANA by the looks of our blogs....See what happens when the QUEEN gets COTTE with SCULLS?
And that's EDWARD MEESE that nailed her.

Tempo said...

..Hey boy! dont you hate it when you finally realize that MOM really does know best?
(Cheers to you to Pearl)

The Jules said...


Just loved this.

SO adorable!

Eva Gallant said...

Loved this post! As the mother of two sons, I identified with it!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

One of my sons reeeeeally rebelled in the '80s. The little booger became a republican. (But I still love him!)

I offered a blog award to you on Wednesday's post, if you care to claim it. But you might enjoy today's post a little more. It's about Minnesota. Not sure, but I think you may know a little something about that.

lime said...

i LOVE that you called it what it was and made it such a cute thing. that's fantastically disarming.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Golly, I loved this post.
I bet he loves you more than the sun, moon, and stars.

He's a GOOD boy.